Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

It's all so eye opening when you do it on paper.

ancientgirl
January 19th, 2009, 10:55 AM
As I keep of thinking of ways to cut some costs, it shocked me when I saw how much I've been paying for breakfast and lunch bought near my office.

Let's start at the beginning of my eye opening experience. I sat down this morning at work, and called the cable company. I managed to cut my cable bill about $20 today, just by downgrading my internet plan. I don't download music or movies from the internet from home so the service rep told me I could get a less expensive plan. I tried to cut my cable plan, but the only other one that would have been cheaper than what I pay for now doesn't include all of the Encore movie channels, and since I did cut HBO, I figured I'd like to keep Encore for movies. They actually have some good movies and many of them pretty recent. Just this weekend they've been showing Pirates of the Carri bean at Worlds End and Pursuit of Happyness. Cutting back on the internet was my only other option. She actually tried to sell me a phone plan, telling me I could cut more costs, but I'd still be paying for a phone I don't need. I'm trying to cut costs, not add to them, and I can't see paying for something I'm not going to use.

I could have cut one of my DVR's, but I do like being able to record programs and movies on both TV's. My TV and internet are my only real luxuries so I didn't want to cut back too much. Hopefully my internet will still be somewhat fast.

Anyway, I'll take the $20 savings. I've been feeding the cats some high quality expensive food and I get them natural litter, so any savings I can make can offset that cost. I feel good about that. And, once I can get to where my debt is paid off I'll have a little more extra money to sock away so I feel really good about that.

So right now I'm waiting to get my tax papers so I can start filling out my taxes. The sooner I get that done, the sooner I can get back my return, and the sooner I can set my plan into action of paying down my debt.

Here's where it gets really interesting!

I've also started eating breakfast at home. I bought some eggs this weekend. I buy the cage free kind, so they cost me about $3.00. The bread, about $2.75, and the cheese 16 slices of white American for about $3.00. So a weeks worth of egg sandwiches for me and scrambled eggs for Vlad and Oksana (they are the only ones that like eggs, and they like to eat with me) costs $8.75. If I buy breakfast in the mornings, a baguette with butter and a latte, it costs me $5.25, and one day a week I'll get cheese grits and home fries at a restaurant in the corner for $6.25. A week of that costs me $27.25. Having breakfast at home saves me $18.50 a week, that's $74 a month! Holy crap! When I worked that out on paper I was shocked! I never realized how much I was really spending just on breakfast alone! That's a huge savings!

I've already cut back on lunch, since I'd been bringing home slow cooker stuff, but this week I wanted to give it a break. I decided to just have some popcorn. I bought 3 boxes of 100 calorie bags for $3.00. You can't beat $1.00 a box, which brings 4 packages. And I also brought with me some snack bars, that were around $4 a box for 5 bars. So lunch this week is costing me $5.25. Lunch for me, if I buy it near work is anywhere from $8.00 to 12.00 a day. Yikes, you do the math, because I'm liable to have a heart attack if I see how much I've been spending on lunch in the past.

It sure adds up doesn't it?

14+kitties
January 19th, 2009, 11:03 AM
Cutting back on the "luxuries" of life will definitely help. It is amazing and scary when you start doing the math. The only thing I would say is please do not jeopardize your health by cutting back too much.

Love4himies
January 19th, 2009, 11:05 AM
It sure does add up. I bring my breakfast and lunch into work, rarely ever eat out and I don't buy coffee, I brew at home and use a travel mug to drink on the way to work. I have recently started to work out at the gym in the morning and so I am hungry when I get to work. Simple things such as bringing in boiled eggs, homemade muffins (from scratch) really helps ward off the hunger and are easily eaten at a desk.

Jim Hall
January 19th, 2009, 11:09 AM
its amazing how much you save by brown bagging it i cant eat a big lunch with out the sleepies any way and im lucky i work from home too

badger
January 19th, 2009, 11:27 AM
I can't eat big lunches either (zzzzzz) but popcorn and health bars wouldn't cut it for me. No protein there, ancient (or not enough) to get you through the afternoon. And popcorn brings on the scavengers.
I don't see any fruit or veggies, cluck cluck.

ancientgirl
January 19th, 2009, 11:46 AM
Yeah, I know it's not much for lunch, but I was low on cash this week and this seemed the cheapest route. I do have some slow cooker stuff in the freezer i can bring a couple of days. I know, I should add some veggies. I'll plan better next week I promise.

Badger, I am getting some protein for breakfast so that's something.:D

krdahmer
January 19th, 2009, 12:50 PM
wow that is a big difference!:eek: When I'm not being lazy, I try to make large batches of things that are inexpensive on a 'cooking day'...like veggie spaghetti, taco meat (or meatless), turkey meatballs (don't know if you can do that vegan or not), veggies and rice, then freeze them in say sizes that would last a few days at a time (if you had enough tupperware you could do individual meals too, that way you could just grab a meal and go in the am). And luckily I'm a cereal girl so that is super cheap breakfast (especially because I pay 2.39 a gallon for my milk in the US). And I too have been doing eggs but for lunch with cheese and veggies in a wrap (which would be good at breaky too). Oh and I have also noticed that because I usually only use the egg whites it's actually cheaper to get the little cartons of simply egg whites (which also freeze well if you get them somewhere like costco or sam's).

We also managed to trim $181 a month off of our cell phone bill by switching me to the walkie talkie plan like hubby (I don't like the impersonal nature of the things but with that kinda savings I'll get over it!). I had to get a new phone but it'll pay for itself in a month or so, and we still end up saving tons in the long run.

And I too am clinging to my movie channels... it is a luxury, but it's just about the only thing I really enjoy watching on tv anymore. And when you're alone most of the time at home... it's nice to get lost in a movie now and then. ;)

Winston
January 19th, 2009, 12:56 PM
AG sounds like your headed in the right direction! Its amazing how much we spend! but I gotta tell you girl popcorn isnt gonna cut it health wise!

Even simple things like a can of soup or something would be just as reasonable and maybe a bit better for you!

AG do you have a refridgerator at work? You could buy a whole bag of bagels for a week! and toast them at work! or to save on coffee I have a little 2 cup coffee perculator and it works great!

Heres another thought! Do you ever cook a tray of lasana? I make my own and I found these smaller tinfoil trays to make it in rather than a large pan! This way since there are only 2 of us I can make a smaller tray! You could cook one the night before and warm it at work!

There are so many ways to save on food! just be creative!

Cindy

ancientgirl
January 19th, 2009, 01:25 PM
Kr, I like the idea of the meatballs (I can buy the "meatless kind" and the veggies and rice. A bag of brown rice is not very expensive and can last me a couple of weeks. I've got some of the good throw away plastic containers and I've been using them for the slow cooker meals. I can make rice and veggie meals too.

I only use my cell phone, so I've been able to get along very well with no land line. That's a savings of about $60 a month, just for the basic plan. It's the damned taxes that get you! And I can't sacrifice my movies. I don't really go out so yes, when you are alone you have to have some sort of entertainment to get lost in.

Winston, I know, popcorn bad. LOL, but I was thinking with my pocket book when I did groceries, and this is going to be a tough month money wise. I have to say though, I love your lasagna idea. Those little individual tin things are not expensive. I can get 2 packs of 3 for less than $5. I can make a veggie lasagna and bring them to work. I can make them low in calorie too so that's a plus as well.

I don't know why I never thought of just having a cooking day and just make something other than slow cooker stuff. Duh!:loser::laughing:

I've got a microwave in the office and a coffee maker. Lately I've just been making coffee here. I buy coffee for the office every couple of months so I realized, why pay for it myself when I can just use the office one.

What I have to do is just sit down and have a plan so I can just get what I need on the weekend and spend maybe Sunday morning making lunch for my week. I love cooking, and the gang love to just sit and watch.:D

It's going to be interesting to see just how much money this is going to save me in the next month or two. My best friend is an excel wiz. She made me an expense sheet, and it's great. I put in my monthly pay, and as you go adding your expenses, it will deduct it automatically for you, and at the bottom you see what you have left.

If anybody wants this let me know and I can email it to you. It's super helpful and has helped me.

jessi76
January 19th, 2009, 02:22 PM
I have a toddler in full time daycare, which is nearly equivalent to a mortgage payment, so I understand how it all adds up quickly! We save alot by eating at home and preparing all meals at home. I went grocery shopping yesterday and spent $85 (which included cleaning supplies). I stretch it all.

I can buy a whole chicken (4-5lbs) on sale for $4-$5. I cook it for a dinner, then pick the meaty leftovers to make chicken-salad sandwiches for lunch the following day. I then boil the carcass, making chicken stock (freeze to use in crock pot recipes later on), and pick the rest of the meat for a treat for the cats. on $5 i just fed us a dinner, lunch, made an ingredient for a future recipe, and gave the cats a treat.

another big saver for us is coupons. But you have to use them right. I'm certainly not going to buy 5 boxes of cereal to save 50 cents. but I do combine manufacturer coupons with sale items. i.e. I just got ruby red grapefruit juice. normally it's 4.99. was on sale this week for 3.99. I had a $1 off coupon, so I got it for 2.99. I normally save $15-$20/wk this way.

ancientgirl
January 19th, 2009, 02:33 PM
Jessi, making meals last is certainly a help. I couldn't do that with a chicken for myself, but I was even thinking of getting some chicken so I can make the cats treats myself. They won't eat it raw, but I can cook it, cut them into pieces and give them a little bit nightly. I've even wondered about getting one of those food dehydrates. I could make them and myself snacks. But those things are expensive so it may not be a good idea.:laughing:

I love cereal, so when I find a coupon for a cereal I like I'll usually buy that one. I'm not super loyal to any one brand. At my grocery store, every week they have some brand with buy 1 get 1 free offers. I'll get two for the price of one, and I'll have cereal for the next couple of months, since I don't eat cereal daily.

I like to go up and down every isle when I do my groceries, because maybe something will be on sale that I like and I'll be able to get it at a good price or one of those 2 for 1.

want4rain
January 19th, 2009, 03:56 PM
some low cost, high nutrition foods include-

cream of wheat (oodles of iron!!!)
eggs
canned veggies (which are also high in sodium but when you compare them to the price of fresh and frozen...)
dried beans
dried rice
canned tomatoes (think spaghetti?? CHECK SODIUM!!!)

down where you are at, spices typically grow year round if you keep them protected for the known frosts. you can grow them in a pot on your door step if it gets enough light, failing that... try a window??? they wont hurt the cats if they graze either. save you the cost of purchasing spices which are expensive in a silly way.

oops...gotta close up shop... might have more later. :)

-ash

ancientgirl
January 19th, 2009, 03:59 PM
some low cost, high nutrition foods include-

cream of wheat (oodles of iron!!!)
eggs
canned veggies (which are also high in sodium but when you compare them to the price of fresh and frozen...)
dried beans
dried rice
canned tomatoes (think spaghetti?? CHECK SODIUM!!!)

down where you are at, spices typically grow year round if you keep them protected for the known frosts. you can grow them in a pot on your door step if it gets enough light, failing that... try a window??? they wont hurt the cats if they graze either. save you the cost of purchasing spices which are expensive in a silly way.

oops...gotta close up shop... might have more later. :)

-ash


I've never had cream of wheat. Is it similar to anything?

I put beans in my slow cooker stuff, but I may just make some this weekend to add to my rice.

allymack
January 19th, 2009, 04:07 PM
just a thought. do you have a Shoppers Drugmart where you are? i am not sure if this is just a canadian store. but they have somehting called shoppers optimum points, so when you buy something at their store you gets points on your card. sometimes some products will have up to 5000 bonus points ( but those ones are few and far between) and after you get to 75000 points you can spend $100 and all you have to pay is the tax, sincei go to shoppers alot for just about everything, i collect the points and spend them on the things that are a little more expensive, but i would still like to indulge in every now and then. also they have a week ( about 3 or 4 times a year ) that the 75000 points will get you $200 worth of things. 75000 points may seem like alot but if you are going to buying things you need anyways ( like prescriptions, cleaning supplies, shampoo/conditioner, magazines, anything really) i might as well be collecting the points for free things.

allymack
January 19th, 2009, 04:09 PM
just another htings, you say you use the slow cooker alot, there is a frozen dinner you can buy, you put in in the slow cooker in the morning and just let it be all day while oyu are at work, and you have a meal waiting for you when you get home, plus liunch for the next few days, i am not sure of the cost, but i dont think its too pricey.

jessi76
January 19th, 2009, 04:15 PM
I've never had cream of wheat. Is it similar to anything?

I grew up on it, and still buy it. it's like a finer grain oatmeal. the company who makes it (B & G foods) is giving away free samples (http://www.creamofwheat.com/creamofwheat/default.asp) right now, but only to US addresses.

bendyfoot
January 19th, 2009, 04:20 PM
OMG regular eating out, even buying coffees every day, can be the difference between debt and living comfortably. That's no exaggeration. (I did the math...you were spending 160-240$/month on just lunches add that to the 75$ on breakfasts...ouch). Add a cup or two of coffee per day at even 1.50 each...it adds up so fast it's ridiculous.

We brown bag it every day, and rarely eat any takeout anymore, MAYBE once a month. We buy good coffee beans and grind and brew our own coffee, it costs less than 5$/week to keep us well caffinated :D

ancientgirl
January 19th, 2009, 06:44 PM
Ally, there are no Shoppers Drugmart here, but they sound pretty neat. Heck, if I had something like that here, I'd probably do the same thing. I do my slow cook stuff on the weekends when I'm home. I don't like to take the chance any of the gang get into it and burn themselves. Even though, they don't mess with it while I'm doing it. You never know.

Jessi, excellent. I'm going to see if I can get a free sample. I love oatmeal and grits, and now and then I buy boxes of those for breakfast too.

Bendy, :eek::eek: That's unbelievable. I knew it would be a high number. I'm telling you, my health insurance is $200 a month alone! I could easily have been saving that extra $200!

onster
January 19th, 2009, 07:06 PM
Wonderful ideas everyone and great job on this initiative AG!

I dont really have any suggestions, but I too started bring lunch to uni whereas b4 id grab something from the cafe. A simple turkey wrap cost me more than $6 :eek: its pretty crazy.

ancientgirl
January 19th, 2009, 07:10 PM
Wonderful ideas everyone and great job on this initiative AG!

I dont really have any suggestions, but I too started bring lunch to uni whereas b4 id grab something from the cafe. A simple turkey wrap cost me more than $6 :eek: its pretty crazy.

Onster, it is crazy. Especially if you think that you could buy the ingredients and make turkey wraps for several days and each would cost you way less than what you paid for that one.

onster
January 19th, 2009, 07:14 PM
Sometimes for a change when we were younger my mom would make us mini pizzas for school lunch.

Really its not expensive at all, you can make your own dough (whole wheat if you like), so many recipes online...then you can freeze it after you roll it out and half bake it.

You can easily load up on veggies, fully cook it and then slice it up and put individual slices in the freezer. It works out better if you half bake it and then continue the rest later (so its not soggy) but its still pretty good if u microwave it after its been fully cooked. Or you could even make some so that you have quick go to dinners (frozen pizza).

I dunno, I always find pizza making fun :D Just a thought..

Winston
January 19th, 2009, 07:16 PM
AG just try to be creative too! cause brown bagging it can get pretty boring and sometimes dull and then you get sick of it! I was on a salad kick for awhile and it became tiresome! But try to change things up...One thing I like to take is veggies and dip. You can make your own dip too with mayo, sour cream and a falvoring package! I guess my point is you want a variety so that your not wanting to go out for it!

Cindy

onster
January 19th, 2009, 07:17 PM
You can also do that with thick pitta bread. You could have toppings ready and just put them on a pita and when its lunch time nuke it to melt the cheese and heat up the toppings :D

ancientgirl
January 19th, 2009, 07:25 PM
Onster, I like the pizza idea. I can actually do that for dinner. And I can bake pita's and make my own hummus and bring it to work with the baked pita. I get this amazing bread at Whole Foods, called Naan bread. I wish I knew how to make it because it's like a really soft pita, and it's really big. I bought some last week and made egg sandwiches with it for 4 days. I need to get some recipes to make my own bread. No doubt it would be way cheaper than buying it all the time.

Winston, I really just need to sit down and write some stuff down. I was on a salad kick last week. Got tired of salad for a week. Luckily I love veggies, so I can easily make a few meals to bring that are veggies and brown rice, with some black beans. I've been so focused about not eating meat, I haven't even sat down to see all the stuff I can make that don't have meat, and will allow me to just bring my own food instead of going out to look for it and spending so much money.

onster
January 19th, 2009, 07:28 PM
Google can also be your friend here, http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/cheap-and-healthy-brown-bag-lunch-ideas-for-grownups

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/eat-well/article/20-healthy-lunch-ideas

http://cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com/2008/05/brown-bag-brigade-your-one-stop-shop.html

Even other forum discussions http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf50232660.tip.html
Lotsa things online to check out :D


Good luck AG :thumbs up

onster
January 19th, 2009, 07:30 PM
Naan bread is actually an Indian bread...I have a recipe for it in one of my moms indian cook books, never tried it though. I find its a bit hard to make pita style breads at home tho....ill look it up and post it if u wanna give it a go :thumbs up

ETA: heres a youtube video of how to make naan http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/2007/05/22/naan-bread/ God I love the internet :D

Another recipe with reviews http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Naan/Detail.aspx

ancientgirl
January 19th, 2009, 07:54 PM
Excellent! Thank you Onster. I love Indian food and Middle Eastern food even from before I was a vegetarian, and I love that I haven't had to sacrifice a lot of my favorite dishes since cutting out meat.

This video is pretty cool. Something I just noticed. I cut my internet speed in half when I called the cable company, and I've still got a good speed and I'm having NO trouble watching this video. Yay!

onster
January 19th, 2009, 08:04 PM
yay for the cable still being good speed !

If u like indian food thats great, the naan video site is actually a site for vegetarian indian food and recipes :highfive:

I love indian food as well, love the spices.

ancientgirl
January 19th, 2009, 08:22 PM
Yeah, I was afraid when I got home my internet would be super slow. The only thing is, I have noticed, and this has nothing to do with my current speed, that Firefox runs really slow and sometimes not at all on my laptop. I may need to start using IE on my laptop.

But regardless, I'm having no trouble watching the videos, and I've been looking at some of these recipes and they look wonderful! I love spicy foods and curry's.

I'm going to have a better look at some of these and try to make them at home next week. Thanks again for the link!:D

BusterBoo
January 19th, 2009, 09:19 PM
Good for you trying to save some money on weekly expenses! It's a tough job!!!!!

I am on a bus at 5:30 each morning and by the time I get to work I am famished...so, I have a box of Musilex (sp??) cereal (almonds, apples etc) and I buy a pint of milk to keep in our community fridge, which lasts me close to a week. I also bring my own tea bags and sweetner, so breakfast costs me just a few pennies a day.

My problem....living alone, I don't feel like making "family meals" at night and I am not into leftovers....so, even though I save on breakfast...I overspend for lunch... :shrug:

ancientgirl
January 19th, 2009, 09:35 PM
Good for you trying to save some money on weekly expenses! It's a tough job!!!!!

I am on a bus at 5:30 each morning and by the time I get to work I am famished...so, I have a box of Musilex (sp??) cereal (almonds, apples etc) and I buy a pint of milk to keep in our community fridge, which lasts me close to a week. I also bring my own tea bags and sweetner, so breakfast costs me just a few pennies a day.

My problem....living alone, I don't feel like making "family meals" at night and I am not into leftovers....so, even though I save on breakfast...I overspend for lunch... :shrug:

At this point, meals are the only thing I can really cut back on.

I've been living on my own for about 9 years give or take and I've gotten used to leftovers. I've often made too much for dinner and wind up taking it to work. It's just something I need to do more often, because thanks to Bendyfoot, I see the amount I've been spending monthly is unbelievable! Here I am in need of a couch, a new mattress and a dining room set and I could have had one of each by now with the money I could have been saving!

bendyfoot
January 19th, 2009, 09:57 PM
AG, one way I like to make cheap, yummy lunches is to make one or two dishes on the weekend, like a tomato and veggie-based pasta (you can add any ground meat or veggie substitute you like) or a soup or...and after it's cooked, portion it out into single lunch-sized servings and freeze them. I can make a weeks' worth of really yummy and nutritious pasta for about 1$/serving or less.

badger
January 20th, 2009, 12:29 AM
If you like Indian food, dal (made with various kinds of whole and split pulses -lentils, small beans, etc.) is super nutritious, a staple meal all over India, poor and rich alike. In fact, rice and beans are probably keeping more than half the people on the planet alive.

Here's one using those tiny red lentils (masoor dal) - the only real expense is one fresh tomato (tomato paste is OK too). You would need to invest in a couple of spices. Asafetida and panch phoran are available in Indian groceries. I sometimes throw in fresh chili pepper with the spices, but that's up to you, it's excellent either way.

1 cup masoor dal (tiny red/orange kind)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 large pich asafetida
1/2 tsp. panch phoran
1 tomato, seeded (I don't bother) and finely chopped
1/4 tsp. turmeric

Rince dal several times in a seive. Put in thick-sided pot with the salt and 3 cups water. Stir to mix and bring to boil. Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Heat oil in small frying pan, add asafetida and panch phoran. Stir until spices sizzle and pop, about 30 secs. (This is where your apartment smells like an Indian bazaar - heaven) Add the chopped tomato and turmeric. Work mixture to a puree with a wooden spoon. After three minutes, add to cooked dal. Simmer for two more minutes.

Eat with steamed white basmati rice (a little more expensive but worth the cost, you will never go back. Brown basmati is to be avoided. The nutritional advantage is negligible and it is tasteless by comparison)
or any Indian flat bread and a salad.

PS Reheat in a small amount of butter over fairly high heat, stirring constantly.

Forget all calories except empty calories - my mantra

Karin
January 20th, 2009, 01:16 AM
AG, I hate to eat out, but love to cook also. I buy the local newspaper mainly for the coupons. Otherwise I read it on line.
Many options there, I will cook a few things and put in my freezer to take to work. I am off tomorrow and I will be cooking black eye peas. That's a meal to me! Times six.
It's hard to cook for one, I either give some to friends or freeze until they come to collect.
Disclaimer: I am not a Martha Stewart.

ancientgirl
January 20th, 2009, 08:39 AM
Bendy, I make pasta in the evening, and usually make too much so I do like to bring the rest for lunch. Pasta is another inexpensive thing I like to cook with.

Badger, thanks for that recipe! Sounds yummy and I can buy most kinds of beans at Whole Foods in their bulk aisle. Rice is another inexpensive thing to buy, so I'm quickly realizing you can eat good and cheap and it's not too hard to do. I'll see if I can find those spices at Whole Foods. They are very good at having things like that.

Karin, yes it is very hard to cook for just one person. I always make too much, but that's okay, one less thing I have to do the following day.:D

CearaQC
January 20th, 2009, 10:48 AM
Time to grow a green thumb! :lightbulb:

You have a nice balcony and you're in Florida for crying out loud. :laughing: You have the ability to grow something to eat year round. Why not take advantage of that? :thumbs up

A $2 pack of baby mixed green seed will give you several months of nice healthy munchy greens for salads, braising or even pan frying with a bit of olive oil or butter with some garlic, onion or true shallot (not the green bunching onion.) All it takes is approximately 3-4 weeks initially to be able to harvest and then you just pick some leaves off here and there and it will all grow back. It's called "cut and come again."

You can grow potatoes in a garbage bin. Dump some dirt in and toss in the potatoes and harvest later for some beautiful baby potatoes that would normally cost a fortune in the grocery store.

Grow tomatoes from a hanging basket.

Make your own sprouts by putting seed into a mason jar with some water and shake. You can sprout almost anything, including sweet corn.

Grow edible flowers like pansies, borage or nasturtium.

Bunching onions (what many people call green onions) can be grown in a window box.

Carrots can be grown in empty olive oil cans or other similar deep containers.

Hmmm I'm running out of ideas at the moment (too busy trying to listen in on the inauguration coverage on CNN online hehe) but you get the general idea.

You can save some money just by growing a few things on your balcony. A window box will be $5 or less, potting soil maybe from the dollar store, and cheap seeds. That beats paying high prices for salad greens from the grocery store.

ancientgirl
January 20th, 2009, 11:06 AM
Time to grow a green thumb! :lightbulb:

You have a nice balcony and you're in Florida for crying out loud. :laughing: You have the ability to grow something to eat year round. Why not take advantage of that? :thumbs up

A $2 pack of baby mixed green seed will give you several months of nice healthy munchy greens for salads, braising or even pan frying with a bit of olive oil or butter with some garlic, onion or true shallot (not the green bunching onion.) All it takes is approximately 3-4 weeks initially to be able to harvest and then you just pick some leaves off here and there and it will all grow back. It's called "cut and come again."

You can grow potatoes in a garbage bin. Dump some dirt in and toss in the potatoes and harvest later for some beautiful baby potatoes that would normally cost a fortune in the grocery store.

Grow tomatoes from a hanging basket.

Make your own sprouts by putting seed into a mason jar with some water and shake. You can sprout almost anything, including sweet corn.

Grow edible flowers like pansies, borage or nasturtium.

Bunching onions (what many people call green onions) can be grown in a window box.

Carrots can be grown in empty olive oil cans or other similar deep containers.

Hmmm I'm running out of ideas at the moment (too busy trying to listen in on the inauguration coverage on CNN online hehe) but you get the general idea.

You can save some money just by growing a few things on your balcony. A window box will be $5 or less, potting soil maybe from the dollar store, and cheap seeds. That beats paying high prices for salad greens from the grocery store.

That's a great idea, except I really don't have a balcony. It looks like I do, but there is less than a six inch space between my sliding door and the actual railing. Every time I see another apartment with an actual balcony I drool, because 1. I could have covered a balcony and allow the cats to enjoy some outside time, and 2. I could actually grow something.

Also, since all I have is a railing, I'm prohibited by the condo association from hanging anything.:frustrated:

It's one of the reasons I really want to save money and eventually buy a small house. I could give the cats an enclosed outside play area and I can also have a little garden. When I was little my mom used to have a little garden, and it was great! I can't remember what she grew, but I do recall she loved being able to grow veggies and flowers.

CearaQC
January 20th, 2009, 01:35 PM
Wow that's not much space. And the lousy rules on top of that! Darn.

I did not know. :sorry:

Well an alternative would be to buy a weekly organic box from your local CSA - Community Supported Agriculture.

Don't they have allotment plots there at all? Maybe a deserted lot that isn't mowed and full of weeds that need to be cleared?

Perhaps you can get together with others and try and find a spot to share and grow some stuff.

Well you still have some nice sun there that your kitties enjoy. Maybe hang some stuff from the ceiling in front of the window where the cats can't reach?

Here's a CSA in your area.

http://www.redlandorganics.com/CSAbrochure.htm

ancientgirl
January 20th, 2009, 01:59 PM
There isn't anything like that here. And most of the people where I live are morons that really only care about themselves. If there even was anything like that in my complex, it's likely most people would just sit back and let a small handful do the work and reap the benefits.

It's the kind of complex, where people who have dogs let them pee and poop wherever they want, instead of using the designated areas and picking up after themselves.

I would not feel comfortable having any kind of garden here.

JennieV
January 23rd, 2009, 10:51 AM
AG, I think you are half-way there...One of the most important things in budgeting is to realize WHERE the money is going. I try very hard not to carry cash with me and pay everything debit. One - its safer, if you lost your wallet, you only lost the plastic that can be replaced (cards and such), my SIL carries hundreds of dollars with her ($100-200-300 sometimes), as she prefers to pay for things cash, but I just can't imagine losing such an amount and getting it back somehow...
Two - I have tracking of where I spent an how much, it is easier to follow. Also, I have this amazing point program with my checking account, where I get points for every dollar spent over 5$, and I go to the movies for free! It really pays off for me, I have already used it about 3 or 4 times!

Sooooo...here are my tricks for low-cash moments:
1. french toast
2. grilled cheese
3. oatmeal or cream of wheat
4. any kind of egg meal: fried, boiled - whatever!
5. meatloaf (lotsa leftovers!)
6. varied pasta dishes: pasta with garlic and olive oil, pesto, tomato sauce, plain butter and cheese (I also cook the whole package and later in the week would do something with it, like re-heat it by frying it, add stuff like grated cheese and scrabled egg and voila! YUM!)
7. dont forget about canned tuna!!
8. slow cooker: I prepare all the ingredients, put them in the fridge, then in the morning just throw everything in and put it on. come back at night and dinner is ready to serve! and the house smells like I have a housekeeper, thats been cooking for me all day! LOL
9. seafood or other stir-fry over couscous! YUM!!
10. pancakes! you can make a bunch and keep some for breakfast!

Also, you don't have to eat the leftovers immediately, you can keep them for another night or for lunch 2 days later, this way you always have something new to eat and don't get bored!

I would just suggest to beware of ready-prepared meals that you can buy, they are usually SUPER-HIGH on sodium, which is really unhealthy for you. I used to buy Hungry Man meals for hubby to take for lunch when there are no leftovers, then one day I looked at the contents and OMG!!!! it has 2500+ mg of sodium per meal!!!!! I freaked!! Same with canned soup. Anythign canned actually you have to be careful with.

Good luck and keep it tight, don't get off track and you will see things will start getting better fast!

JennieV
January 23rd, 2009, 10:56 AM
Oh yeah, I wanted to add...I love shopping at Price Chopper (not sure you have it there), they have a membership program as well, which not only gives you discounts and lots of time you can buy one - get one free, or sales like 10 for $10 and such, but also they give you discounts for gas (not sure if this is relevant to you, but I sometimes save $0.50 PER GALLON off the regular price.

Also, try to find some online sites, like we have save.ca here, that allows you to get real good coupons by mail or you can print your own...

ancientgirl
January 23rd, 2009, 11:17 AM
Jennie, pancakes is a good idea. I can make several at a time and just freeze them. I've been having egg sandwiches all week for breakfast, and they have been very filling. Vlad and Oksana have the added benefit that I make them an egg too.:D

Pasta, I do a few times a week, but I have been thinking of making just one big batch and then bringing some pasta meals for lunch.

Slow cooker, yep, I've been doing that on and off for a couple of months now. This weekend I'm going to buy some beans, because I have some frozen veggies in the freezer from my last slow cooker meal.

I also carry very little cash if any at all. Right now I have $50 in my wallet, and that's only because I withdrew money yesterday before my insurance payment was taken. As a result I have several overdraft charges, but I needed money to buy the gang food this weekend, and I don't get paid again until next Friday. The overdrafts suck, but I'll have to deal with it. I had no other means of getting cash for their food.

I should be getting my tax refund around the first, and it's direct deposit so it will be in my account faster. I plan on transferring 80% of it to another bank account I have that has a debit card as well. I will be using that money to just buy my groceries, the gangs food and gas until I get my debt paid off.

I plan to be very frugal, and if everything goes as planned. I should have my credit cards paid off before June. Once that happens, It'll almost be like I just gave myself a huge raise. I can't even tell you how much extra money I'll have at the end of the month, without having those credit cards.

I don't want to get myself into a position like this again. I've actually been living without credit for a while. My cards are at their limit, over their limit as a matter of fact, so I've been living on cash for at least a year. I need a dining room set and a couch. I'll buy those when I have the money and can just pay for it up front. My credit cards will be paid off and I'm putting them away and really will just keep them for emergencies. I often worry, what if I need to take one of the cats to the emergency room. I don't have that spare cash and just going in on an emergency is $100 right there. No, I have to do this as much for them as for myself.

JennieV
January 23rd, 2009, 01:42 PM
AG, coming from one that had to declare bankruptcy, just a little note to warn you about the overdrafts and the bouncing checks...Be careful, they really screw up your record. You become a very high risk for every bounced check and especially credit givers look for these type of mistakes to refuse their lending.

I know its especially hard when we have these little ones to care for, but the more you do it - the more in the hole you go. You will bury yourself faster and deeper.

Btw, have you checked into overdraft insurance? Banks and credit lines have that for people to protect them from overdraft charges. So if you go in the red, you just go in the red for that specific amount, not additional charge. And it usually cost something like 1.99 per $100 overdraft (but check that first, don't rely on me for exact info, as canadian banking is a bit different)

Also, you may want to look into consolidating all your credit card debt onto one, with a lower interest. I know that Capital One usually has special offers, or start paying attention to junk mail, MBNA is also a good one (or at least was, when I was in that position). What I am trying to suggest is taking a bunch of debts and puting them all in one place, with lower interest. You would be surprised how much a difference you will see with 19% vs 0.9% interest! The way it works is that whatever balances you transfer to that credit card - will be on a specially low interest. Anything you put on above that - will be at a regular rate of anywhere around 18-25%, depending on a credit card. I personally had one and it was the best thing ever. I actually SAW my balance decrease every month! Also, if not credit card, maybe try to get a line of credit? it works bette than a loan, because you can re-use the money you have paid, but it will be still at a lower % than a credit card (around 8% +-).

I was gonna PM this to you, but then I figured that there may be other people who are in a similar situations that may have not thought of these ideas. I, however late, learned all these crazy things, post-bankruptcy, so I feel that if my :2cents: can help someone dig themselves out - why not!?

Good luck and if you need to vent or anything, feel free to PM me.

ancientgirl
January 23rd, 2009, 02:13 PM
JV, yeah, I've got overdraft protection at my bank, but it works only if you have a savings account. :laughing: Um, I'd need savings for that. I do plan on doing it once I've got some of this debt paid down. I can then open a savings account and put in the money I no longer need for credit cards in there.

My credit is already so bad it's not funny. I've been struggling for years. I know it's bad, but that's why I'm really trying to get this all paid for. Once I do that, I can begin to pay my other bills on time. My car, my insurance, cable etc...and I know they also look at that. I figure, if I can keep myself up to date and debt free for a year or two, it will help my credit rating. It will take me at least that long to save up any kind of money to start looking for a house.

I'm actually very inpatient about starting. I want to just get going already so I can start seeing some of my balances go down.

I'm going to call each of my credit cards to talk to them about helping me out. Hopefully they will be willing to cut some charges down. I imagine they are dealing with the same from everyone and they want their money, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will work with me.

JennieV
January 25th, 2009, 10:47 PM
GOOD LUCK! Seems like you are on the right path!!
:highfive:

ancientgirl
January 26th, 2009, 09:10 AM
Thanks. I just want to get going. As soon as I start making my payments, I'll finally feel like I'm getting somewhere. I just want to finally see I'm making a dent in all of those balances!